Unheralded

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — How America’s Three Constitutions Define The Nation

The past few years have raised constitutional questions at an unusually fast clip. After years, even decades, of slumber, the emoluments clause (Article 1, Section 9) suddenly flared up, as well as the pardon clause (Article 2, Section 2), and, of course, the impeachment clause (Article 1, Section 3), among others. From the narrow perspective of civics (not politics), the …


Unheralded

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — What If Polio Had Become Politicized?

Those of us of a certain vintage grew up without fear of polio because Jonas Salk’s vaccine against that awful virus went into distribution in 1955, quickly eradicating the disease in America. But many of us grew up seeing and knowing polio victims, many of them irreparably crippled, some unable to walk, others with atrophied limbs. There was no great …


JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Curious Case Of The Drunk-Driving Legislator

I know, I haven’t written much about the North Dakota Legislature this year. Too many other things on my mind. But I followed it, read about it daily and shook my head in amazement over the stupid things the Republican majority did. I won’t tick them off here — you know what I am talking about. But something caught my …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Supreme Court Packing: A Bad Way To Get Even (Or Ahead)

Recent talk among some Democrats about expanding the number of U.S. Supreme Court justices has caused enormous consternation among Republicans but also among many mainstream Democrats and conservative political commentators. The impulse to increase the number of justices is a partisan Democrat response to the refusal by Mitch McConnell and Republican senators to confirm (or even vet) President Obama’s Supreme …

TONY J BENDER: That’s Life — I’m Doing Great, Thank You

Hey friends, well, it’s been two months since I announced my cancer diagnosis on the eve of major surgery at Mayo Clinic. Since then, I’ve received a steady stream of cards, well-wishes, and prayers, and they’re working because I’m doing great. Thank you! I don’t plan to spend a lot of time in the future doing play-by-play on my recovery, …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Steve Allen’s Legacy

Like a lot of others, I’m looking forward to CNN’s new six-part documentary series “The Story of Late Night,” a look at the history of late night television talk shows. The first episode at 8 Sunday night will likely focus on Steve Allen, the co-creator and first host of NBC’s “Tonight Show.” It was network television’s first late-night talk show. …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — An Update On The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

Somebody asked in a comment on my blog last week for an update on the proposed Little Missouri Crossing north of Medora, N.D. Here’s some information stolen from an article I wrote for Dakota Country magazine’s May issue, which should be on the newsstands later this week, or in your mailbox if you subscribe, which you should do. Out in …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Afghanistan 20 Years Later: Another Costly Quagmire

What can you buy with a trillion dollars, let alone four or five trillion? It’s not that government expenditure is a zero-sum game (guns or butter), and we all understand that national security and national defense are among the most essential expenditures of any sovereign nation. Still, had the United States not invaded Afghanistan and Iraq or prolonged our incursions …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Snaps® Are Back!

A little more than eight years ago, in December 2012, I wrote one of the hardest obituaries I’ve ever had to write, and believe me, I’ve written a lot of them, as a former newspaper reporter and editor. The obituary was for Snaps®. Anyone who knows me well or remembers that blog post on December 8, 2012, knows that I …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — What Really Matters

I received a letter from my 22-year-old self this week. Well, sort of. It was a letter that I sent to the woman who was my camp counselor when I was 14, thanking her for the influence she had on my life. I sent it the week before I left for seminary, Aug. 31, 1986. She found it this week, …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Ken Burns, Lynn Novick Create Perfect Hemingway Documentary

Ernest Hemingway is one of our greatest writers, and Ken Burns is our greatest documentary filmmaker, so it is fitting that the latest film by Burns and his creative partner, Lynn Novick, is about the most influential American writer of the 20th century, who committed suicide on July 2, 1961. Hemingway wrote seven novels during his lifetime, six collections of short …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Wanted, Critical Thinkers

I never received the smallpox vaccine. But I thank God for everyone who did. My parents were not anti-vax. But back when everyone my age lined up to get the vaccine that would leave a unique scar on their upper arm, I couldn’t join them. I had severe eczema as a child and due to a reaction that the vaccine …

TERRY DULLUM: The Dullum File — Da Bears

With the Great Toilet Paper Shortage of 2020 now well behind us, so to speak, I have another concern. It also involves toilet paper. For months now, I’ve been semi-obsessed with something I’ve been seeing a lot of on television. That is the animated Charmin bears. The colorful toilet paper-pushers come on TV, often late at night for some reason, …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Can The Left Reclaim Populism With Biden As The Modern FDR?

Author Thomas Frank is an unapologetic liberal and populist. Those characteristics shape his writing and worldview. He finds promise in the country’s original populists, who adopted the term in 1891 and who were protesting “unbearable debt, monopoly and corruption … forcing the country to acknowledge that ordinary Americans who were just as worthy as bankers or railroad barons were being …

JIM THIELMAN: My Big Brother Was A Rental

Uncle Bert left Washington, D.C., each July, along with everyone else who worked for the federal government. The nation’s capital is built “on a tangle of woods and swamps.” It’s sweltering in the summer. Bert’s family of four drove to his childhood farm in Iowa, then up to my hometown, a small Minnesota river burg where his wife was born. …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Solastalgia: The Drought Of 2021 In North Dakota

Here in North Dakota in the spring of 2021, the headlines about the pandemic are being pushed aside by the daily news of the extreme drought and prairie fires. All of us search the forecast in hopes of rain, knowing the damage this is causing to the people, the critters and the landscape we love. All of us search for …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — North Dakota’s Gold Rush: A Memoir About The Fracking Boom

Michael Patrick F. Smith would not seem to fit the profile of an oil field worker. He’s an actor, a musician and a playwright who sublet his Brooklyn, N.Y., apartment to head out west to Williston, N.D., during the height of the Bakken Oil Boom in 2013. As he admits, “It’s a weird resume for a man applying to work …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — The Promises And Pitfalls Of A Modern-Day Boomtown

When the price of a barrel of oil peaked at $145 amid the 2008 economic meltdown, thousands of unsettled men from all over the country descended on the fracking boomtown of Williston, N.D. Centered atop the estimated 7.4 billion barrels of recoverable oil contained within the Bakken Formation, Williston witnessed over the next six years what writer Michael Patrick F. …

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Harriet Bristol: An Inspiring Life

Harriet Bristol didn’t have any immediate family. She didn’t have a host of friends left. She was a very private person. Come to find out, she had led quite an inspiring life. Somehow, I felt a connection, which is why I was one of four people who stood under a shelter that cold, rainy day to attend her funeral recently …

JIM THIELMAN: Hottest Twins Home Opener Offered Plenty, Except Beer

It was a record 90 degrees at Metropolitan Stadium when the Minnesota Twins opened their home baseball season April 22, 1980. The math should have been simple: 36,000 fans + 90 degrees = extra beer vendors. Also in the equation: Every college kid in the Twin Cities would skip class. The drinking age was 19. The Met was a frowzy …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. University Of Minnesota-Duluth

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team quest for a ninth national championship was cut short Saturday night in Fargo’s Scheels Arena as the Fighting Hawks were defeated 3-2 by the University of Minnesota-Duluth in a five-overtime game. North Dakota (22-6-1) trailed 2-0 late in the third period before pulling goalie Adam Scheel and tying it up on goals …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — From Wounded Knee To Pipeline Access, The Lakota’s Enduring Power

Most histories of the “Indian Wars” in the American West end with the Wounded Knee Massacre on Dec. 29, 1890, when U.S. troops of the Seventh Cavalry killed between 200 and 300 Lakota (Sioux) people, the majority of them women and children, most of whom had been disarmed, at Wounded Knee Creek in South Dakota, just one year into its …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. American International University

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team used a four-goal first period outburst in the span of just over seven minutes en route to a 5-1 win over American International University on Friday night in Fargo’s Scheels Arena to advance to the NCAA Midwest Region championship tonight against National Collegiate Hockey Conference rival the University of Minnesota-Duluth. UMD gained the …

CHEF JEFF: One Byte At A Time — Chicken Vegetable Soup

Most recipes usually serve four people at the minimum and often are meant for eight. So that means if you are cooking for two, be prepared for a lot of leftovers. That’s the case with preparing an entire chicken. Whether the bird is cut up for frying or left whole for roasting, if you’re only serving two, there is going …

LA VALLEUR COMMUNICATES: Musings By Barbara La Valleur — Nordic Walking Unmasked

Who knew I’d enjoy exercising so much? That was certainly a new experience. Sure, I enjoy water aerobics, especially since recovering from two knee surgeries in 2018. But walking has never been at the top of my list of exercising practices. Until this past January, when I discovered the joys of Nordic Walking. It was time to take off the …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A Short, Sweet, Norwegian Celebration

Three groups have been cheering the appointment of Debra Haaland as President Biden’s Secretary of Interior. WOMEN. Although 21st century presidents have done better, over the years, probably only about 10 percent of all Cabinet secretaries have been women — I think I read somewhere the total is about 30 since we became a country — so when a woman gets …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. North Dakota State University

The University of North Dakota’s No. 2 ranking didn’t seem to impress No. 4 North Dakota State University on Saturday in Gate City Bank Field in the FargoDome as the Bison defeated the Fighting Hawks 34-13 in Missouri Valley Football Conference play. The Bison (5-1 overall, 4-1 MVFC) won its 32nd straight home game in handing the Fighting Hawks (4-1 overall, 4-1 …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Nicholas Christakis And Understanding Our Year With COVID-19

Nicholas Christakis’ “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live“ is an outstanding book. I agree with the eminent historian of ideas Niall Ferguson, who called it “magisterial” in his review in the Times Literary Supplement. I could not recommend it more highly. It’s not only the most readable of the books published on …

LILLIAN CROOK: WildDakotaWoman — Sun Halo And The Vernal Equinox

Spring weather came to North Dakota early this year, the fifth-driest winter here on record. The sky has been filled with migrating Canada Geese, and some crazy fishermen have already had their boats on the nearby Missouri River, even though there is still ice on the banks. My first birding excursion of the year took place earlier this week with …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Addressing The Color Divide

From time to time, I see Facebook friends who I know to be decent people post things about “cancel culture,” decrying what they see as an “attack” because someone found something offensive. It always makes me sad because I believe that a lot of this “forced” divide in our nation could be addressed if we opened our minds, heard the …

RON SCHALOW: HB 1298 Technically Not Discriminatory Towards Any Gender

“Technically.” That’s all the Republicans were shooting for with HB 1298. As in, “No transgender girls are playing high school sports in North Dakota, but technically they can’t if we pass a law.” But there are big loopholes that won’t please the anti-transgender zealots. I especially worry about how Sen. David Clemens, R-West Fargo, is going to take it when …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Living Through The Pandemic: A Review One Year Later

A year into the modern pandemic era, it seems reasonable to ask, what have we learned? And what should we have learned? I found answers to those questions in a wide-ranging interview with Nicholas Christakis, the author of “Apollo’s Arrow: The Profound and Enduring Impact of Coronavirus on the Way We Live.” Christakis is the Sterling Professor of Social and …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — April Is A Key Month For The ‘Bridge To Nowhere’

There are a couple of new developments in the ongoing saga of the proposed Little Missouri River Crossing north of Medora, N.D. I’ve written about this extensively, most recently in December. Here’s what’s going on right now: There’s a new look to the Billings County Commission. Longtime Commission Chairman Jim Arthaud, the driving force behind the bridge proposal, was defeated …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — Pollert vs. Becker; Pollert Wins; Luke Who?

In the end, the vote this past week to kick Luke Simons out of the North Dakota Legislature wasn’t about Luke Simons at all. It was about Chet Pollert showing Ricky Becker who’s in charge. Pollert’s the Majority Leader in the North Dakota House of Representatives. He introduced the resolution to kick one of his own caucus members out of …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — A REALLY GOOD FRIEND and a REALLY GOOD WIFE

This is a story about a REALLY GOOD FRIEND and a REALLY GOOD WIFE. It started about a year ago when my friend, Mike Jacobs, offered to place a bet on the 2020 June North Dakota primary election. It seems he had made a bet on a candidate in a contested primary race but was having second thoughts, so he …

RON SCHALOW: NDGOP Targets Mythical Transgender Supergirl Athletes

The latest on House Bill 1298: In a 65-26 vote, representatives voted to ban transgender girls from high school sports and flash their bona fides because their “convictions” — Rep. Scott Louser’s word* — tell Republicans that the current number of zero transgender girls on a girls athletic team is still too many to bear. The North Dakota Republican Party is acting …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. University Of Denver

The University of North Dakota women’s volleyball team dropped a three-set Summit League match to the University of Denver on Saturday in Betty Engelstad Sioux Center. The Fighting Hawks (2-10 overall, 2-8 Summit) fell 20-25, 22-25, 21-25 to the Pioneers (9-1 overall, 9-1 Summit), one of the top teams in the Summit. Lexi Ahres paced the Hawks with  nine kills and …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. University Of Nebraska-Omaha

The University of North Dakota men’s hockey team was handed only its second home loss in 28 games, falling 3-2 in overtime to the University of Nebraska-Omaha in National Collegiate Hockey Conference play Friday night in Ralph Engelstad Arena. The loss spoiled Senior Night for eight UND players. The Fighting Hawks (18-5-1) battled back from a 2-0 deficit on goals …

JIM FUGLIE: View From The Prairie — The Winter Of Our Discontent

I’ve been away. It’s been nearly two months since I took a punch to the gut, the likes of which I have never experienced. I lost a brother in the COVID pandemic. He was younger, just 66. Unknown to his family or friends, he suffered from severe depression, which engulfed him during the isolation of the last year, taking him …

MICHAEL BOGERT: Photo Gallery — Spring Fever

March 1 signals the start of meteorological spring. One day, it might be record-breaking warmth; the next, a storm or blizzard strikes. Well this year, the former has been case, as unseasonably high temperatures in the Red River Valley of the North have been setting records. These Canada geese, as captured by Grand Forks photographer Michael Bogert, may or may not …

RUSS HONS: Photo Gallery — University Of North Dakota Vs. University Of South Dakota

The University of North Dakota football team picked up its third straight Missouri Valley Conference win, a 21-10 decision over the University of South Dakota on Thursday afternoon in the Alerus Center. The No. 4-ranked Fighting Hawks (3-0, overall, 3-0 MVC) once again were led by running back Otis Weah, who rushed for two touchdowns and 163 yards. Quarterback Tommy …

CLAY JENKINSON: Future In Context — Guy Fawkes And The Plot To Blow Up The U.S. Capitol

We live in head-shaking times. In a congressional hearing Feb. 25, acting U.S. Capitol Police Chief Yogananda Pittman reported that heightened security around the Capitol will continue at least through President Biden’s upcoming State of the Union appearance, the date for which has not been set in part to prevent domestic terrorists from being able to prepare a coordinated attack …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — Separating The Wheat From The Chaff

The faux rage about “canceling” Dr. Seuss because the corporation that preserves his legacy removed a small handful of his countless books because of content that clearly is not appropriate and is hurtful in 2021 is so off point. Much of what Theodor Geisel wrote was lovely or fun. That is not going anywhere. It is the process of separating …

PAULA MEHMEL: Shoot The Rapids — My Lenten Discipline

This year, as my Lenten Discipline, I decided to devote 30 minutes a day to deep and intentional anti-racism reading and reflection. I selected a few books that have been on my “meaning to read” list and put them next to my recliner.  Every evening after dinner, if I have time before a meeting, or before bed if I don’t, …